Beauties and the Beasties


Some delights and some horrors from the garden to share this week: brace yourselves!

I’ve spent a good few satisfying hours peeling away mats of self-seeded grasses, primroses and forget-me-nots  to reveal forgotten paths in the garden next door. This ready made turf  has been relaid in the woods, where I hope the blankets can cover the bare soil and the primroses can get settled.

Whilst digging some very weedy borders, I came across this scary looking critter, about 5 cms long, curled up beneath the soil. It’s fascinatingly horrid, with its translucent bulbous tail and orange spots.  (Those of a squeamish disposition, look away now!):

chafer grub

I undertook extensive research to find out what it is (a.k.a. emailing my  Mum) who identified it as a chafer grub larvae. This critter will munch through the roots of your beloved, cherished (no doubt rarest) garden plants and leave them for dead. My instincts were right to leave it in the open to be devoured by the nearest predator. Foxes, badgers and magpies gobble them up like particularly gross jelly babies. Yum.

So that’s the beast over with, now for beauty: Euphorbia wulfenii and bluebells growing on a sunny bank a couple of days ago.


Followed swiftly by Lunaria annua, or Honesty: that of the moon shaped, mother of pearl seed pods which I recall from my childhood Christmas decorations:


Purple Honesty flowers  are everywhere right now, so moments later, as I slogged uphill with buggy and child, a purple, blue and lime-green April combination pinged into my mind: forget-me-nots, bluebells, Honesty, Aubrieta   and Euphorbia, maybe with a dash of Vinca of  on the side : it would look dazzling, I think. The purple honesty and Aubrieta glowing  against all the fresh spring greens and harmonising with the blues of tiny forget- me-nots and nodding clusters of bells…. talking of which:



I spotted these Snakes Head Fritillaries in a damp meadow this week. Would be rude not to share.

In the water meadow next door, fluffy bullrushes from last year are shedding their seeds by the thousand. They look wonderfully statuesque. Any large pond would be enhanced by their presence. Perhaps intermingled with some graceful, airy, damp loving  Deschampsia schottland (mental note for pond).


A strange site that I didn’t think I was ever going to see – the pink clenched fists, fingers unfurling, of the Peony buds, finally making their appearance. Never mind that other Peonies nearby are in full leaf with large, marble sized flower buds, mine did survive the replanting! Hurrah!

Peony buds

Another quick beast to share, but don’t worry – very tame compared to the last one: Dandelions. The leaves shred in your hand leaving all roots intact. No wonder. THIS is what I pulled from a patch of gravel yesterday:

Dandylion root

Until next week. Happy gardening.


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